Butte County Sheriff's Office changes way they wash patrol cars in drought

Sep 3, 2014 7:56 PM by Brian Johnson

As drought conditions persist, the Butte County Sheriff's Office said they're doing their part to conserve water.

The Butte County Sheriff's Office Alternative Work Program, or SWAP, is a program where low-level offenders can choose community service over sitting in jail.

Take two buckets of water, some vinegar, and a little bit of elbow grease, and you have a recipe for a clean car.
"Now you got to put a little elbow grease with it now, you got to do that," said SWAP member Eddie Jackson.

And a clean patrol car is quite important to the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

"Those cars get dirty," Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said. "It's important to keep them clean. Not only from the standpoint of making sure that we represent the department well, but also from a safety factor. You need to have a clean windshield so you can see where you're going, and clean headlights so you can illuminate what you're driving into."

Honea said the department's old-school method was a hose, but water was wasted as it went everywhere.

It's Marilyn Cable's first day on the job as part of participating in the SWAP.

"When I was here 30 days ago they were doing it behind the SWAP office with hoses and soap and towels," said Cable. "And today when I started I went to go back out there and [they said] no, no, no, we have a whole new method."

They call it the bucket method, aimed at saving water.
And now they do save water.

SWAP members say they cleaned five cars Wednesday, and can use two buckets without changing out the water for that many cars.

Honea said there were a number of reasons they didn't just switch to an automatic car wash, explaining there are none near their campus, it would cost the taxpayer, and they value the SWAP program.

"So ultimately finding a way for them to continue washing our vehicles in a manner that saved water was the best possible solution," Honea said.


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